The Trump administration returns to federal court Monday morning to plead for more time to reunite about 100 children younger than five years old who were taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The American Civil Liberties Union confirmed Sunday night that the government will blow past the Tuesday deadline imposed by District Judge Dana Sabraw for the Southern District of California, telling reporters that it “appears likely that less than half will be reunited.”
“It’s extremely disappointing that the Trump administration looks like it will fail to reunite even half the children under five with their parents,” said Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s lead attorney in the class action lawsuit on the immigrant family separations. “These kids have already suffered so much because of this policy, and every extra day apart just adds to that pain.”
On Friday, Judge Sabraw held off on granting the Trump administration a deadline extension, and instead ordered them to give the ACLU a list of the 102 immigrant children under five in their custody and the status of their attempts to reunite those children with their parents. In that same hearing, Sabraw rejected arguments from the Justice Department that they should not be obligated to reunite the young children with 19 parents who had already been deported back to their home countries. He then ordered the parties to appear back in court Monday morning after Trump administration attorney Sarah Fabian said she had “dog-sitting responsibilities” that would prevent her from meeting over the weekend.
The ACLU says the Trump administration gave them an incomplete list of the children by the Saturday deadline Sabraw set, and provided the rest of the information they sought on Sunday.
The government’s claims that they have lost track of dozens of immigrant parents of children under five bodes poorly for their ability to meet the court’s second deadline. Under Sabraw’s national injunction, the Trump administration must reunite all of the roughly 3,000 immigrant families they have separated two weeks from Tuesday.